“Christmas Devotional Theme: Follow the Master in Service,” Ensign, Mar. 1985, 77
“So many of us use our lives as if they were our own,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, at the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional. He pointed out that there is a higher and far better use of our lives—service to others and, through them, to God.
Ours is the choice to waste our lives if we wish, he said. “But that becomes a betrayal of a great and sacred trust. As the Master made so abundantly clear, ‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s … shall save it.’” (Mark 8:35.)
The December 23 devotional was broadcast via satellite from the Salt Lake Tabernacle to satellite receiving stations at chapels in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It featured a First Presidency Christmas message, with addresses by President Hinckley and by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Council of the Twelve. Christmas music was performed by the Tabernacle Choir and the congregation, and Sister Joanne B. Doxey, second counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency, read 3 Nephi 11:1–12 [3 Ne. 11:1–12], an account of the Savior’s visitation to the people in America.
The program focused on Christ—his birth, his divine mission, and his example.
“He, the Son of God, condescended to take upon himself a mortal body. His mother … gave him mortality. His father, the Eternal God, vested him with power over death. No other man, or woman, ever was born into the world so endowed. He came in the humblest of circumstances. He died the most painful and ignominious of deaths to rise again the third day as ‘the first fruits of them that slept,’” President Hinckley said.
Recalling his recent visit to Guatemala for the dedication of the temple there, President Hinckley spoke with feeling of the Saints in Central America and of the missionaries who work with them and teach the gospel.
“Why are missionaries happy?” he asked. “Because they lose themselves in the service of others. … May the real meaning of Christmas distill into our hearts, that we may realize that our lives, given us by God our Father, are really not our own, but are to be used in the service of others.”
Elder Nelson spoke of the prophets who had foretold Christ’s birth and atonement. “Jesus was known … as ‘the Anointed One’ even from the foundation of the earth.”
“The herald angels in heaven and the trusted prophets on earth all knew the necessity of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus …
“The Restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the restitution of the priesthood, the universal proclamation of the gospel to the living, and the redemptive work for our kindred dead in temples throughout the world—all are part of the preparation for the Second Coming of the Anointed One,” Elder Nelson said.
“We await the day when there will be ‘Joy to the world,’ when the Lord will come, and earth will receive her King,” he added.